An occasional collection of bites. Have you eaten anything good or bad, or seen a good scene while you munched? Send in your short bites to email@example.com. Full names only.
Grilled mac and cheese sandwich at Bender’s Bar. Most bar food is not in the best interest of the eater. Indeed, the fries and sliders that one gorges down after five beers don’t need to break the mold in culinary extravagance. They’re there to fill a very particular need, which is getting greasy food in the belly as quickly as possible. There are a few wonderful exceptions, however, and that includes Bender’s Bar’s miraculous grilled mac and cheese sandwich. Sure, it’s a gut bomb — full of gooey mac between two slices of grilled white bread and a side of tots ($9) — but it’s there for a reason. You can get it with bacon. Eat it with a greasy smile. – Carly Nairn
Salsa at El Tepa. El Tepa might look like an average Mission taqueria, but it has a secret weapon, and it’s not on the burrito line. Order one of the fresh and surprisingly healthy burritos and you get a bag of thin, crispy just-fried tortilla chips.
To the left of the cash register is a cart with a variety of house salsas, peppers, Mexican-style giardiniera and juicy limes. The pico de gallo is so popular, a backup bin is added around lunchtime. This is some of the best pico de gallo, or “rooster’s beak” salsa, I’ve ever tasted. El Tepa’s condiment choices vary from unique avocado salsa verde to the spiciest red roasted tomatillo salsa, which stays classy on the heat meter and doesn’t use sharp spice to overpower the other deep, smoky flavors within. I went for the vegetable-heavy garden burrito, but wished I had packed up more 4-ounce containers from the self-serve salsa bar. – Jessica Naudziunas
Potato, rosemary, radicchio and gorgonzola dolce pizza at Beretta. If you want to go not quite casual but not quite all the way fancy, Beretta is just the place for a low-key Tuesday date or a quick pop-in with a few friends to share a pie. With about a dozen pizzas to choose from, topped with ingredients like radicchio, diavolicchio and coppa, Beretta may have some of the best Italian thin-crust pizza in the city. One evening my dinner companion and I had the potato, rosemary, radicchio and gorgonzola dolce pizza ($14); the scampi with pancetta and cannellini ($8), which was a perfect fish antipasti for two; and the herb onion bread ($3), proving that Beretta knows its yeast. – Carly Nairn
Strawberry margarita at Puerto Alegre. I visited Puerto Alegre because I heard it had the best margaritas in the Mission, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. The strawberry margarita was well blended, with just enough tequila for someone like me who doesn’t like strong drinks. I ordered a cheese enchilada with green sauce as my meal, and unfortunately this was a disappointment. The enchilada was covered in green sauce that had a weird, strong taste. I ended up scraping off the sauce and eating the enchilada plain. — Jamie Goldberg